* Posts by bep

213 posts • joined 14 Mar 2011

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Why Joe Hockey's Oz tax proposals only get five out of 10

bep

Not to mention

The dodgy mark-up and mark-down pricing some of these companies have been indulging in which can only be interpreted as an attempt to evade Australian tax on goods sold in Australia.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

bep

Proportional representation?

I don't think you want that. Looking on from far away Australia, I have to observe that, while our system is far from perfect all the other systems seem even further from perfect. I frankly don't believe that 'first past the post' even counts as democracy if you have more than two candidates. Try preferential voting, it can't be worse than what you have now.

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SOD TABLETS, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a LAPTOP

bep

Asus Transformer

I've had one of these for several years and it deals with most of the problems the author talks about. Unfortunately Asus seems to have stuffed up the later models by changing the hinge design and they seem to have largely abandoned the Android versions for Windows 8.1. The Windows models don't seem to have the extra battery in the keyboard half which is one of the best features of the Android versions. So another example of a problem being solved and then unsolved for no apparent reason.

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Apple taxpayers swarm to stone-age iPhone 6+ purely for the bigness

bep

Moto G

I recently upgraded to the larger Moto G and I endorse your comments about Lollipop. Change for change's sake, most for the worse. For example, apparently they have made the short-cuts on the drop-down list 'dynamic'. If you don't use them for a while, they disappear. Apparently all the Android guys think this is a great idea. I don't use the torch shortcut very often, but when I need it I want it to be where I expect it to be.

Having said that, I do think the Apple interface is very dated, it takes a lot of 'flicks' to do things that are quicker to do in Android.

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How Groucho Marx lost his voice and found his funny bone

bep

Re: I have to say

Which scene contains the immortal line:

"Why Tallulah, I didn't recognise you standing up!"

(Hopefully I've remembered that right).

OK, why a duck?

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Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?

bep

There's no such thing as 'economics'.

Maggie Thatcher told us that. After all, if there is no such thing as society, and as economics is a social science, well.... Really 'the economy' is just a model, with all the limitations of every model. They used to call it 'Econometrics', but they seem to have convinced themselves that it was real. As for Keynes, I think he understood markets, didn't he make his money, as well as that of his Bloomsbury mates, from money market speculation?

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

bep

Re: @Simon Sharwood - So... Some thoughts.

I wondered for some time why passenger aircraft didn't have cameras monitoring the trailing edge of the wing. Then I thought I read that such cameras had been implemented, but is seems not. This seems like a basic safety feature that should be mandatory. The other question is, is it time for the reintroduction of a flight engineer to monitor all this feedback information that is overwhelming the pilots?

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Oz energy company AGL promises to decarbonise by 2050

bep

Carbon pricing

The really interesting part is the decision to impute a carbon price into future investment decisions. That's a real kick in the teeth for the current government's policies. They want the market to sort it all out, and the market has decided it wants a price on carbon!

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US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting

bep

Re: Bah!

"and yet thousands of boots hit the dirt every time we go to war."

Actually the battlefield has been emptying for centuries. Compare the armies at Waterloo to the armies in Iraq. There is still a need for boots on the ground, but far more of them are now in support positions. In any case this has little to do with manned versus unmanned aircraft. The question has to be asked, if we know the F35 is going to be last manned fighter, does anyone actually need the F35? The delays and cost overruns aren't helping that particular program.

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Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

bep

Graffiti anyone?

I got quite good with Graffiti on the old Palm Pilots and I'd be happy to try it on Android. For those who haven't used it it's a sort of shorthand script with minimal key strokes. I think that approach is better than handwriting recognition because handwriting is still likely to be slower, regardless of how good the recognition is, simply because there are more actions required with handwriting.

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Cisco loses logo lawsuit against WiFi inventor boffinhaus

bep

Well

If I were CSIRO I would defend the action, but I wouldn't use the same graphic designers again. Instead I'd go to a designer who actually thought up something original from scratch, which it appears their designers didn't bother to do in this case.

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Adobe Flash fix FAIL exposes world's most popular sites

bep

Hackers?

I know Italian defenders can be quite hard but referring to them as 'hackers' seems a bit harsh.

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Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

bep

Re: The main point of the petition isn't economics, it's ethical

"Only if they stop using products that were produced from, or by the use of, petroleum. For example, pens, cars, planes, electronics, and most basically, food.

Once they do that (and perhaps you'd like to do it as well,) then I'll listen to what they have to say."

Pardon? The point is to stop burning oil. I've heard plenty of oil men say things like: "You know in the future people won't believe we actually burned all this irreplaceable stuff." One of the reasons not to burn oil is that its by-products are too useful. Coal has somewhat fewer other uses I'll admit, which is why it's value is likely to collapse before oil does if we decide to not burn so much stuff to make energy.

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Big Data shocker: Over 6 million Americans have reached the age of 112

bep

Day of the Jackal etc

Didn't the geezer in 'Day of the Jackal' get a British passport this way? Went to a church, found a dead'un of appropriate 'age' in the graveyard, nicked the record from the church's birth register, applied for and got a birth certificate and away he went. I believe they have tightened up on this in the UK.

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

bep

So as I understand it,

we're back to waves travelling in an invisible, undetectable aether? That doesn't sound so hot, but when the other mob have to resort to Dark Matter AND Dark Energy and still wind up with multiverses, the funny old aether doesn't seem so out of order.

Enjoyed the article a lot, but as Homer Simpson said...

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Botched NBN installs leave folks with no internet, or recourse

bep

Oh dear

It seems we have managed to replace one Telstra - with two Telstras!

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Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

bep

Re: Primeval rain forest?

"Depending on the forest, this may take anywhere from a century to several millennia. Hardwood forests of the eastern United States can develop old-growth characteristics in one or two generations of trees, or 150–500 years. In British Columbia, Canada, old growth is defined as 120 to 140 years of age in the interior of the province where fire is a frequent and natural occurrence. In British Columbia’s coastal rainforests, old growth is defined as trees more than 250 years, with some trees reaching more than 1,000 years of age. In Australia, eucalypt trees rarely exceed 350 years of age due to frequent fire disturbance.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's wikipedia...."

Well, since we're trusting Wikipedia:

'The Huon Pine is a conifer, endemic to Tasmania, and the only member of the genus Lagarostrobos. It is Australia’s oldest living tree species and one of the oldest |living organisms on earth. Individuals have been known to reach an age of 3,000 years.'

Australia is quite a big place, with quite a few different tree species, not just gum trees.

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Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

bep

A web browser?

Sorry, Vivaldi can't possibly be a web browser, it appears to support bookmarks in folders without requiring four clicks to get to them. This is not what modern users want and demand; usability statistics and my mate Nigel at the the graphic designers demonstrate this quite clearly and no debate will be entered into!

Fortunately I'm not a modern user, so more power to their arms!

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C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

bep

Maybe

"The statement that "low interest rates screwed Ireland" seems to be one of those shortcuts. I thought it was Ireland taking advantage of those low interest rates without any thought of the future that screwed them."

I think you're rather anthropomorphising a complex system there. It seems that by 'Ireland' you mean the Irish economy, which you can't credit with consciousness. It's odd to try to blame it. The reaction of the Irish economy to low interest rates was simply exactly how any economy would react.

If by 'Ireland' you mean the Irish government, then I think you'll find that it was fiscally responsible during this period and ran a surplus."

Meanwhile in Spain there was certainly a property speculation bubble, but they built a lot of infrastructure as well. This may well stand them in better stead if and when their economy recovers.

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

bep

Re: Content and Style

"Theoretically, it is possible to take the style they have painstakingly (but often inexpertly) created, and fill it with content which will automatically take the corporate style. In practice, however, I have found this very hard to achieve."

That's because the first thing Word does when you open a document is re-format it for whatever you've got set as the default printer. The problem is there are far too many people who think Word is a desktop publishing program not just a word processor, and who have absolutely no clue what the difference is.

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The Revenue achieved RECORD numbers of e-tax returns ... by NOT shifting to GOV.UK

bep

Re: Same as any website...

That's the crux of it really. "We've found only five per cent of visitors use that particular function." So you remove it, and piss off five per cent of your visitors. On a government website, five per cent of users can be quite a lot of people. And a government website is NOT like a business website. You cannot choose to ignore a certain set of people, since you are public servants and are paid to provides services to EVERYONE, not just this or that percentage. So Mr Wiseguy better start 'feeding the trolls' again, because they are paying his wages.

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Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

bep

hmmm

"They carbonise the chitin/chitosan which burns off organic components.." I suppose they used one of those new-fangled furnaces, what's that acronym again? Oh that's it - BBQ!

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Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

bep

Re: Really?

From my readings on this, and I an definitely not a doctor, the main thing is to stand up and walk around for a while, even a couple of minutes. So a dual-height desk by itself doesn't actually do the business. Apart from that, standing for long periods gives you sore feet!

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Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

bep

Re: Technology

You had me right up until:

"Opposition to GMO crops etc are culturally driven attempts to prevent technological changes."

Actually, it's driven by the realisation that technological progress has been accompanied by plenty of technological disasters and they are most common when knowledge is recent and scanty. Remember 'junk DNA'? Oh, what's that, it isn't junk after all? Who knew? Nobody knew until very recently. And it gets affected by viruses and bacteria? Wow! So caution is defininitely indicated in this area which is racing ahead so large agricultural conglomerates can contiue to make big money. It would be a pity if the main use of seed banks wasn't to repair the planet after a meteor strike, but to replace crops poisoned by some half-arsed GM catastrophe.

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Turing notes found warming Bletchley Park's leaky ceilings

bep

Eeewww!

This has a long history. In World War 1 a British Army of African conscripts (and Indian volunteers) chased a German army of African conscripts all over East Africa. The Germans used paper signal pads and then, er, used paper signal pads. First stop after the Germans departed was the latrines, with a shovel. The Brits called it the DPM - Dirty Paper Method.

"So lad, what branch of the Army would you like to serve in?"

"Military Intelligence Sir!"

"Silly boy, you're in!"

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Call Gordon Freeman! Apple to build $2bn 'data command center' – BLACK MESA?

bep

Still there

Gordon Freeman never escaped from Black Mesa when I was playing the game. Still stuck on a rail, me (sigh)

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

bep

Re: Cut the sh*t!

Your observation about the location of measuring points may be accurate but you may be failing to draw the correct conclusion from it.

Increasing urbanisation (and destruction of forests etc.) is part of the problem, so there is no reason to exclude that data. Increasing population is also a factor. So the climate is probably getting warmer because we are emitting more CO2 because there are more of us in more developed situations which tends to degrade the things that mitigate CO2 in the atmosphere. The population people say the growth in numbers will slow down IF, especially, life-expectancy for children continues to improve. But will that happen if the climate continues to get hotter? That's the flip side to the economic development argument. Reducing CO2 is unlikely to create an economic disaster, it hasn't so far where it's been done, it just creates new industries (wind, solar etc.).

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By the Rivers of Babylon, where the Antikythera Mechanism laid down

bep

Re: People back in the day...

We only know Plato said that because it was written down. The invention of writing and later printing was hugely important in the preservation and promulgation of knowledge.

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bep

Yep, it's a horseshoe

Where you place the gap in the shoe, up, down, left or right, depends on your own political outlook.

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Eat FATTY FOODS to stay THIN. They might even help your heart

bep

Good for you

I eat bread, pasta, rice, spuds and fruit (every night) minimal lard but plenty of olive oil, fish and vegies and I'm still 75kg, so I suspect 'eat a balanced diet' and not too much of it is probably pretty good advice after all. Not to mention the exercise (why doesn't anyone want to mention the exercise?).

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

bep

"The move to abolish passwords will no doubt be welcomed by customers. Today we have so many passwords to remember. As a result, most of us suffer from 'password fatigue' where we use obvious or reused passwords often written down on Post-it notes or saved in Excel files on laptops," he added.

Or kept in a password storing app if you've got half a brain. Instead I will now have to have a mobile phone that works everywhere if I want to make Visa purchases. This proved a little bit tricky for me when I was in Brazil recently. The current system works fine for me, and if Visa or anyone else thinks I'm going to give a private company any biometric information about me they are out of their minds.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

bep

Ghastly

The one thing you don't go to an English website for is advice about food.

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Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY

bep

I would happily replace my current Nano (Christmas present) with one with a click-wheel like the original. Touch screen interfaces are a huge step backward for this sort of device.

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RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

bep

Re: The Neanderthal must have been really drunk...

Sorry, but it seems to me that nothing you have said alters the fact that Neanderthals and more modern humans had fertile offspring and so were the same species, just as a dachsund and a pitt bull are the same species. If two ducks that could interbreed and have fertile offspring are for some reason regarded as different species then that is a taxonomy problem. I mean, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...

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'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

bep

Unfortunately

"Tirole's biggest finding is that the correct answer is, as the correct answer so often is in economics, “it depends”. We need to look at the details of that specific market and see how changing regulation and oversight would actually impact upon current behaviour, before we can decide what, if anything, should be done."

Since economics isn't a real empirical science no one can do that. You can estimate, predict or just guess, but you won't know until you try. You might then adjust the regulations if they aren't working as expected, but again you won't know the actual result of doing that until you actually do it. I'm not suggesting that all regulation is pointless, just that the basic premise of this particular argument is faulty.

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White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

bep

Re: Let there be light!

Not to mention that many of us live in parts of the world where heating is rarely used but air-conditioning is used a lot. Anything that reduces the heat generated by home lighting will tend to reduce the need for air-conditioning. I can't see any downside to that.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

bep

Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

Don't forget the cables. You have to use HDMI with Blu-ray. When I connected my new Blu-ray player to my HD telly via HDMI cables and played a Blu-ray disc, the sound kept skipping. The sound in DVDs skipped too. When I connected the Blu-ray player to the telly with component cables, no sound skipping. Of course I couldn't play my one and only Blu-ray disc anymore, but the video quality seemed much the same to me and I don't like being treated like a pirate anyway, so bye-bye Blu-ray until something really compelling that actually plays reliably comes along.

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

bep

Re: Picking the nit...

As General Omar Bradley observed, the Allies willingness to expend Shermans was scant comfort to the crews who had to expend themselves as well.

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Got your NUDE SELFIES in the cloud? Two-factor auth's your best bet for securing them

bep

Re: So we'll all have

or if you are travelling and you don't like wearing your phone company's roaming charges. I generally buy a local sim when travelling if I'm staying long enough to justify it, but of course that means you have a new mobile number, which leads to conversations like this:

"Oh, you want to change your personal details. No problem, we'll just text you a one-time passcode and you'll be able to log in to you account...oh".

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Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

bep

Re: So, for people like me that still get good use out of theirs

The first sign of that was the original Walkman, which came out how long ago? Unlike the early iPods, it also had a radio.

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Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers

bep

Re: Doing More With Less

But it depends on what you call civilization, doesn't it? At the moment we are building lots of stuff while simultaneously significantly polluting the planet and driving hundreds of plant and animal species to extinction. Does doing what you've always been doing constitute civilization, or should that term imply a continuous increase in knowledge and good outcomes for the whole planet?

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Privacy law reboot needed says Oz Law Reform Commission

bep

Accessible?

The law should be accessible, full stop. Once you have laws structured as proposed, with various exceptions available, each breach has to be decided on a case by case basis which means barristers, solicitors, and money. So 'privacy' will be 'accessible' for rich celebrities, politicians and businessmen, but not for Joe Bloggs (did I just miss the Clapham Omnibus?).

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

bep

From an end user's perspective

It doesn't make a lot of difference to me. The current generation of passenger jets is pretty similar to the previous generation in that I get where I'm going at much the same time feeling just as lousy. A Mach 2 airliner that worked with reasonable economy would be a 'moonshot'. The current jets, not so much.

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Google updates Maps app for iOS, Android, adds Uber support

bep

Ummm...

"You've been able to save maps for offline use for a while, but it's never been the easiest function to use. The upgrade adds a saved maps icon on the screen, and maps can now be saved under specific names to make finding them easier and can be accessed on multiple devices."

Am I missing something here? How do you use maps you've cached on one device on 'multiple devices.'?

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Apple to flush '£37bn' down the bog if it doesn't flog cheapo slabtops

bep

Maybe ask Asus instead

I believe the Transformers are selling OK. Alright I'm biased because I have one, but the lesson is that if it's properly designed and priced right it might sell. i'm no big fan of analysts myself but he might be suggesting that many people have an iPad and a Windows PC. If so then a hybrid device won't cannibalise sales so much. Getting the design and software right is everything.

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Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars

bep

Pedant alert

It's 'Mary Celeste' folks. Just so you know next time.

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Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost

bep

Re: $599

Indeed, and where you are now in the Android space is not much of an indicator of where you will be in 12 months time. Witness how the Moto G seems to have revitalised Motorola's fortunes after they seemed to be heading nowhere. If you bring out the right handset at the right price then Android users will take their apps and run. HTC might therefore be going OK - a quality flagship phone can give a halo effect for your cheaper offerings, even if no one actually buys the expensive model.

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NSW to expand e-voting

bep

Re: Democracy is too important

I'm pretty much with you on this one, and as a NSW voter I have personal interest in this one, but unfortunately the electoral commission's loss of a small number of paper ballots from the last Senate election has only strengthened the arm of those pushing for electronic ballots. That loss has had an impact far out of proportion to the number of ballot papers lost, since they will have to run the whole election again. That's the price of democracy, I guess, but a lot of people can't be bothered to pay it and would much rather use their i-device of choice to pick their least-disliked pollie.

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

bep

Re: @p_0

One possibility I haven't seen mentioned is a sudden emergency (fire, rapid decompression) that knocked out or disoriented one of the pilots but not the other. The remaining pilot would then have a lot on his plate and communicating might have not been a priority, especially if the other pilot was still awake but behaving erratically. In this scenario they could have violently disagreed on what action to take and both started doing things that hampered the other.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

bep

Re: "The satellite would thus know to keep one of its receiving assemblies aligned..."

I agree the communication has been very poor but it highlights a continuing problem. If I were a media rep with sufficient funds I'd hire the best translator I could and go to the press conferences given in the languages these officials speak at home - Bahasa Malaysia. I'd then get the replies translated. Plenty of people in Asia speak good international English but that isn't necessarily good enough to deal with highly technical issues in a highly emotional environment with an international press corps, many of whom aren't native English speaker either. I have Malaysian relatives and have been there plenty of times so I have some idea what I'm talking about. I'm quite sure some of these communication breakdowns are things that have been lost in translation. The assumption that 'everyone speaks English' is unfortunate for all involved.

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